- The Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014 introduces new obligations of disclosure.
- Practitioners need to disclose an estimate of the total of their legal costs, not a range.
- A law practice must take all reasonable steps to satisfy itself that the client understands and consents to the course of action proposed by the law practice and of the costs of the proposed course.
- Whether reasonable steps have been taken will be judged objectively.
- Special care needs to be taken to ensure the client understands the proposed course of action and the costs.
It is often said, with regret by some, that a legal practice is a business like any other. It may be better to say, in fact, that a legal practice is a business like no other.
Notwithstanding the nuance, the fact is that legal practices are businesses that have a profit-making purpose.
It is surprising then that many practices still do not realise the importance of costs disclosure as a way to successful practice despite disclosure having been an element in every practice since the mid 1990s. As we will see, the new regulatory regime has added some complexity to existing obligations of costs disclosure.